The Telegraph is reporting that a leading academic will tell the Girls’ Schools Association annual conference that head teachers have a duty to provide strong “moral leadership” to show pupils right from wrong…
…Prof Ron Beadle, of Northumbria University, said that pupils should learn about real-life role models to show that traditional virtues can be “cultivated by anyone regardless of their gifts or the obstacles they face”.
Head teachers themselves also have a personal duty to provide clear moral guidance by taking tough decisions in the interest of the school “rather than what will make their life easier or make them more popular”, he said.
The academic, a professor of organisation and business ethics, insisted that strong role models were important at a time of “moral chaos” when young people are bombarded by a “culture of celebrity and consumerism”.
Morality can also be developed through activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award when pupils are rewarded for perseverance, he said.
Prof Beadle made the comments before he delivers a speech to the Girls’ Schools Association annual conference in Newcastle this week…
In his speech, Prof Beadle will set out how girls’ schools can present moral leadership by providing pupils with prominent female role models.
These include Rosa Parks, the American civil rights activist who refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Alabama in 1955, contravening racial segregation laws.
He will also cite Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban after campaigning for the rights of girls to an education in the Swat region of the country.
“Role models are incredibly important for encouraging people of any age to consider what is actually admirable and in both these cases what we have are stories of courage, a willingness to encounter threat in pursuit of a genuine good,” he said.
“What Rosa Parks and Malala also share is that their celebrity is not based on any particular talent, so one of the other lessons that their examples can help teach the rest of us is that the virtues can be cultivated by anyone regardless of their gifts or the obstacles they face.”
He added: “We can find cause for hope in the lives of great women leaders. They can teach us that moral leadership is not about subscribing to a particular set of moral views but about doing the right thing because it is the right thing. To do this consistently, to resist the easy option, requires us to develop the virtues of wisdom, courage, justice and prudence.”
Presumably Prof Beadle’s comments are relevant to girls in all schools – not just girls’ schools – what do you think of them? Do girls, in particular, have enough positive role models and can schools help? Please let us know in the comments or on twitter…